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In preparation for our six week transformation contest, I recently did an goal setting workshop with my bootcampers.  It was a time to step back, gain some focus and clarity, and get clear on what’s really important.  Here are some of the questions we brainstormed on as well as a few of my own personal answers as examples to give you some ideas.  If you take the time to ponder and write out thoughtful answers to these questions, you will be that much closer to setting yourself up for success….

1. What did I accomplish in 2011?

  • created a solid foundation for my business, incorporated, found a bookkeeper/cpa/attorney
  • found mentors who can help me achieve my goals faster and overcome hurdles
  • hired an assistant, hired a trainer, added new class times (my biz grew!)
  • refined and clarified my current vision
  • learned to enjoy my coffee black
  • increased my strength and agility
  • donated generously to my church and other worthy non-profits

2. What were my biggest disappointments in 2011?

  • not getting adequate sleep, rest, and recovery
  • feeling too stressed too often
  • not playing enough
  • failing to commit, religiously, to daily time in prayer and in the Word
  • procrastinating on things i know i need to get done, not effectively managing my time when i am working

3.  What did I learn in 2011?  What were the causes of my success and why was I able to accomplish what I did?

  • everything i accomplished is, first and foremost, a blessing from God
  • the habits of getting outside of my comfort zone, learning and pursuing knowledge, seeking out mentors and those who have done what i want to do, being persistent, not giving up, fighting the tendency to procrastinate, and a commitment to providing extraordinary value have all contributed to my success
  • hiring good people who i respect and admire!

4.  What could I have done differently to avoid the regrets and disappointments from the past year?

  • more discipline in every arena of my life.  discipline to establish and commit to a routine, discipline to manage my time, discipline to eat what is good and nourishing for my body, discipline to get enough sleep, discipline to stay off of facebook, discipline to spend time daily in the word, discipline not to put off the tasks that seem difficult, but to do them first instead
  • form the habit of writing down the three things that i WILL accomplish come hell or high water the following day and ALWAYS do these three things first
  • go to bed by 9 pm/wake up at 5 am no matter what

5. What are my top three lessons from 2011 and how do I apply them for change in 2012?

  • when i take action and fight procrastination, i make massive progress.  i MUST get into and maintain the habit of having 3 to-dos mapped out before I go to bed and i MUST tackle them first thing in my day.
6. How did I limit myself in the past and what needs to stop in order to change that?
  • wasting time on FB.  implement a rule that i cannot get on FB until i’ve accomplished my top 3 priorities for the day and i have a 25 min limit per day.  stop keeping the FB window open so that i see every time there are new messages.

We also worked on some questions that were specific to the challenge.  These are very helpful to think through in order to get crystal clear on how to really hone in on achieving a short term goal, be it in regards to  your body composition or another area of your life.

  • What is overall goal for the six weeks (remember, BE SPECIFIC!)
  • What do you need to achieve each week in order to be on track?
  • What are the daily action steps that will produce the results that you want?
  • Who can hold you accountable?
  • What is your #1 biggest challenge or limiting factor that might prevent you from success and how do you plan to overcome it?
What are you waiting for…go grab a pen and a paper and get your goal on!

Setting goals will enable you to eliminate the distractions in your life and help you to focus on the really important things. By knowing exactly what you want, you are able to concentrate on specific areas with more accountability and focus. Goals allow you to get more things done so you can achieve more. Who doesn’t want to achieve more?

I like to take one large goal and break it into smaller, more attainable “mini-goals”. This will give you the direction you need if you get off track. Goals create steps. The old saying goes, “How do we eat an elephant?” Answer: One bite at a time. No matter what task we have to tackle, we often can’t do it all at once. We can, however take small steps toward completing the task.

Always, always, always write down your goals! Set small, measureable, and attainable goals. Focus on getting the result that you want. Why did you set this goal? Why is it important to you? Make a commitment to yourself, and then take action with your end result in mind. Use your time wisely and work hard. Don’t waste your valuable time and energy with filler. Tell everyone you know about your goal. You have probably heard this a hundred times, but it really works. This will create accountability, and the more accountability, the more likely you are to succeed! One more thing….“Today, not tomorrow” is critical. Don’t put anything off until tomorrow…it will never get done. Besides, if it is really important to you, then why would you wait? Do it TODAY!

I was just skimming over some of the food journals that we give out at our bootcamp to help our campers realize what they are doing right and wrong as far as their eating habits.

And one thing that consistently trips people up is eating out too often!  

Here are some things that you should be aware of….

-It appears most people eat out one out of every 4 meals and snacks. That’s an average of once a day.

-Restaurant food is designed to do one thing: to taste good.  In order to increase eating pleasure, each item is loaded 
with fat, salt and sugar.  This causes you to eat way more calories than you actually need and can also set you up for an addictive cycle of craving even more fat, salt, and sugar.

-Also, the portions of the average restaurant meal are WAY too big.  But most of us still clean our plates anyway.

-Even when you order ‘healthy’ items, you’re still taking in more calories and fat grams than you would if you had prepared the item at home (for example, think about the last salad you ordered out…didn’t it come with cream dressing, croutons, cheese sprinkles and a piece of butter laden bread on the side?)

The main reason people eat out is for convenience, so with a little organization you’ll find that preparing your own meals 
takes less time than you thought it would.  Here are a few useful tips for avoiding the restaurant trap:

-On the weekend sit down and plan out your meals for the week. Then go to the grocery store and stock up on everything you’ll need for those meals. 

-Be sure to stock up on snacks and foods that require little extra in the way of prep.  Buy bags of pre-washed/pre-cut veggies, baby carrots, easy to transport fruits (apples/oranges), and pre-washed salad mixes.  You can even buy grab bag sized almond packs.  

-Wash and prep any other veggies immediately when you get home from the store.  Cut them, place in separate tupperware containers, and all you need to do is reach into the fridge when you’re ready to stir fry or steam.

-If you’re allergic to veggie prep, keep bags of frozen spinach, green beans, and brussel sprouts on hand and then all you have to do is steam and go. 

-Hard boil a dozen eggs and keep canned tuna on hand to have a quick and easy protein sources available.  

-Once you’ve got your food prepped for the week, pack your lunch and snacks each night before bed, then grab them on your way out the door in the morning. When you prepare dinner at home, make enough for at least the next day as well to bring for lunch.  

Your efforts will pay off both in terms of weight loss and in money saved…and if you set aside 1-2 hours a week to focus exclusively on food prep, you’ll find that it takes way less time than you think!

My vision.

I was away at a fitness conference this past weekend and had the opportunity to hear from several of the industries leading fitness experts.  I left a bit overwhelmed by all that I learned but also left empowered by a crystal clear vision of what my passion is, the goals that it has produced, and why I do what I do.  Required reading for anyone considering joining FBBC ;)

Without further ado…

My vision:  To empower 100,000 people to improve their lives through fitness by 2020.  I will use the confidence I gain through accomplishing this goal as the foundation for a much larger vision that will allow me to touch the lives of many thousands of people, possibly through fitness or possibly through some other avenue.  The success I will achieve through my mission will enable me to help hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised, struggling, or hurt people whose lives I never would have otherwise been able to touch.

Why?

Ultimately, I want to live in a way that glorifies God.  I believe that it is our God given duty to serve others and that God has given me a special heart for serving through leadership.  Life is infinitely richer and more rewarding when you are truly focused on giving and reject the temptation to be controlled by fear or scarcity.   I know what it’s like to live enslaved to the lie that I have nothing to offer others and the world and I know that every day I allow myself to believe that, I severely limit the number of lives I can change.  Life is more exciting when you lead.  There are so many people out there that I already know how to help and inspire.  I know what it’s like to be inspired and how much I grow when I’m pushed outside of my comfort zone and I want to provide the same inspiration to others.  I feel infinitely more fulfilled when I am actively engaged in increasing the quality of life for others and myself.  Inevitably, when I seek to improve my own quality of life by pushing myself to grow, learn, and be fearless, I automatically improve other people’s lives.

Why fitness?

I am passionate about using fitness as a medium to improve people’s lives because I know that seeking excellence in one area of your life has a domino effect that in turn translates into improvement in multiple other facets.  Fitness is an area in which I have the expertise to help people make immediate and measurable improvement in their health and wellbeing.  Thanks to the domino effect I know that this improvement will transfer to other areas of their lives.  I have personally struggled and continue to struggle with how difficult it can be to make healthy food and lifestyle choices in our society and yet at the same time I know that the quality of my life is measurably improved when I eat right and exercise.  I believe that we were designed to move on a daily basis and to eat in a way that is honoring to the bodies with which we have been blessed.  I have experienced first hand how I am more effective in EVERY area of my life when I make my health and fitness a priority.  I have more energy, a more balanced perspective, a more positive outlook, and more to give to everyone in my life.  I love seeing people’s confidence, belief in their abilities, and love for themselves increase as they become more proficient at exercising and as they learn how their bodies can move and perform.

Why FBBC?

The bootcamp model is one that immediately expands the horizons of how many peoples’ lives I can change locally in Portland.  Through FBBC I can and I am creating a place where people can come to learn from the best trainers, but can also learn from each other and from themselves.  Just as my fitness business is my vehicle to perfect and refine my ability to help and serve others, FBBC will be an environment where my clients can not only learn to be faster, stronger, leaner, fitter but where they will learn important lessons about getting outside of their comfort zone, where they will be encouraged to help and serve others, to raise the bar for what they expect of themselves, and practice being remarkable.   I want to create a fanatical tribe of people dedicated not only to improving their physical bodies but to serving and encouraging others and to beginning each and every day by committing to bring their best, both to their workouts and their lives.  FBBC will be the highlight of my client’s day, an environment where everyone’s gifts and accomplishments are appreciated and celebrated, where everyone has the opportunity to grow and to push and to challenge themselves, and where laughter, sweat, smiles and cheers circulate freely and are tangible evidence of our communal growth.  By collectively building our social capitol, we will inevitably begin to change both our own lives and the lives those around us for the better.  Not only will we strive to actively improve the lives of ourselves and others through the program but to positively influence the community around us through fundraisers, benefit walks, volunteering together and being active participants in contributing meaningful help to those in need.   The goal and mission of FBBC will be to promote real change and growth of the people involved on multiple levels that inspires them to help others grow and succeed in turn.

What does this look like practically?

From this day forward, I commit to ruthlessly protecting the workout environment at FBBC.  Whining will not be tolerated.  Consistently missing several workouts a week, showing up with a negative attitude, or refusing to give 110% in workouts will result in being asked to leave the program.  Each FBBC member will be expected to go above and beyond, to be remarkable.  This could be as simple as becoming the member who is know for introducing themselves to each and every person who walks through the door.  Or the member who gives extra encouragement to someone who is obviously struggling that day, even if it means having to sacrifice intensity in their own workouts.  Or the member who stays after to do a quick sweep on the day that everyone tracks in mud.  Or the member who takes it upon themselves to encourage other clients on facebook.  Or the member who has made huge strides towards their fitness goals through the program and actively seeks to share what has helped them succeed with new members.  Just as those who make it through the first few months of a fitness program start to crave exercise, as people start to experience the power of giving more, they will in turn strive to contribute as much as possible to the group.

Check out this awesome advice from Leo Babauta on what you MUST do to change your habits:

Make Your Habit Change a Priority

One thing I like to say to friends who stumble in their habit changes is “Life gets in the way.”

And it undoubtedly does. Emergencies come up, work gets crazy and hectic, vacations happen, routines change, priorities change. Habits become less of a priority when many of these things happen, and often it’s enough of a change in priority for the habit to die altogether.

But don’t let that happen without a fight.

Make your habit change a top priority in your life, or it will likely fail.

If you want to make exercise a new habit, for example, but you let other priorities push the exercise back and back until you just decide not to do it for today, you’re going to fail.

If instead, you do the exercise first, because it’s important to you, and let the other stuff (including work) come after the exercise, then you’ll likely succeed.

This is one of the reasons it’s important to do just one habit change at a time — you can’t have very many priorities in your life. It just doesn’t work that way. At any given time, only one or two things is really important to you.

If you want the habit to stick, the change to actually last, you’ll need to make the habit change one of those really important things. That means, every day, you wake up thinking about how you’re going to make it work today. It means every day, you really want to not only get it done, but to log it and let others know how you succeeded.

Every day, your habit change needs to be the top thing you do. When you go on vacation, it should still be your priority. When your work gets intense, it can’t fall by the wayside, but you need to figure out how you’re going to make the work fit in around the habit. When your routine changes, you need to figure out how the routine will work around the habit.

Don’t let the habit be a lower priority.

We can learn two very important lessons from Leo that will help healthy change become a reality.  First of all, choose only ONE habit to change at a time.  This is the exact same reason that I have my personal training clients focus on mastering small dietary changes, one at a time, instead of trying to change everything all at once.  Small positives habits, mastered, then built upon, can lead to very impressive changes over (relatively) short amounts of time.  Just imagine that you focused on eating fruits and vegetables at every meal for one month and then on incorporating lean proteins at every meal for the next month, then on only drinking water, tea, black coffee for one month.  Each of these changes, in and of themselves, are small enough to be very unintimidating.  If I asked most people if they were to focus EXCLUSIVELY on being sure that there were fruits and/or veggies on their plate every time they prepared a meal, most of them would feel pretty confident that they could do it.  The more you do it, the more habitual it will become.  Eventually you won’t even have to think about it…and that’s when you add in the next habit.  Just think, if you master just ONE habit a month for six months, you can completely change your body.  How do I know?  Because I see my clients do it all the time.  These are the exact same principles that I used with Liz to achieve the following transformation in just five months (click on the photos for a closer view):

When trying to improve your habits, start small, start with something you KNOW you can do, use your success with that habit to build your confidence and then move on to the next thing.  But remember to keep it simple…ONE thing at at time.

So I recently started having plantar fasciitis  type symptoms in my right foot for the first time in my life.  I’ve never had foot issues before so I kept putting off doing anything about it thinking it would just resolve itself (despite warnings from my chiropractor that I needed to get some insoles ASAP).  After bearing with the pain for a good month or two (I know…slow learner) I finally broke down and went to FitRight NW for some insoles.  Freaking A, next time I’m hardheaded enough to drag my feet (no pun intended) for two whole months, will someone please knock me upside the head?  Upon recommendation of the super awesome staff at FitRight, I went with the Archmolds heat moldable insoles and after two weeks of wearing them my feet couldn’t be happier.  The plantar fasciitis symptoms are all but gone…who knew it could be such an easy fix.  If you’re having ANY foot issues at all, I’d highly recommend heading into a running store where they will accurately fit you for shoes and/or insoles that are right for you.  Here’s a quick fact sheet about insoles from FitRight’s website: http://www.fit-right-nw.com/how-to-select-insoles.html.  To happy, healthy feet!

Some people are at an early morning workout with a big smile. They seem to relish the crack of dawn (or the pre-crack, in Portland winter!). If you’re not bright-eyed and bushy tailed in the morning – or if just the idea of parting with your pillow is painful – you have an uphill battle when it comes to getting up and showing up.

Only you can find tactics for out-smarting yourself. Personally, my battle is that I love to sleep – my dreams are epic. It always seems that there’s a really fantastic dream going on when my alarm cracks into it – and all the I want is to finish the story! So, I tell myself that I can go back to sleep as soon as I brush my teeth and put on my workout clothes. Of course, by that time I’m conscious enough to resist my pillow singing to me.

When you find your goals for working out unravel with that first touch of the snooze button, it’s time to take a long hard look. Where are the breakdowns – and how are you going to overcome them? Consider that the pain of staying the same on this front is far greater than the pain of changing. Even if there are no other health or wellness considerations, the very act of making a goal and breaking it can wreak havoc on your self-esteem and character. No es bueno!

Here are some common pitfalls:

- Staying up late. Classic! So you’re a night person. Totally understandable. Lots of people are. One trick for becoming a morning person (besides all the tricks you’ve probably tried) begins by measuring your circadian rhythms. Everyone goes through 2 or 3 circadian cycles throughout the night. Make a mental note of about when you go to sleep. At some point, most people stir or even wake up from sleep. When that happens to you, check the clock immediately. How many hours was it from when you went to sleep? Now, if you want to get in two or three of those (depending on how many hours they take) go to bed an appropriate number of hours from the time you have to get up and work out. To train yourself in the beginning, protect the evening hour before your bedtime and drink soothing tea, read a book, and take melatonin to help you slip into slumber.

- Stress prevents you from getting great sleep. It’s really, really hard to get a wound-up body to come down enough to get good rest. On the other hand, working out in the morning can be one of your best antidotes to the stress of your days. Make a pact with yourself that you’ll get up and work out even if you didn’t get great sleep that night. Chances are likely that what you loose in poor sleep the first week or two will be made up by having a stress-reducing, meditative, adrenaline-balancing workout. The fact is, when your body and character are becoming stronger, and you take time to be good to yourself first thing in the day, you’ll be able to handle the pressures of daily life with a clearer head and a more stable body.

- Drinking into the night. There are a lot of reasons why people do this. Habitual evening drinking is a common way for people to de-stress. Instead of diving to the bottle, tell yourself the story that you’re going to be so much less stressed after a week or two of working out instead. Drinking could also be part of your business lifestyle; from everyone from event promoters to sommeliers and in between could find themselves at the mercy of feeling tempted to drink as an addendum to their job. Here’s my best advice: set yourself up for success by finding something non-caffienated and readily available that you like to drink instead. Water is a great one. Make it a habit that you have to go through a pint of whatever beverage you choose before you allow yourself another alcoholic drink. If you suck liquids down like a fish, make it 2. If you’re firm in your resolve, politely and quickly refuse anyone who wants to pour for you, and leave the party before all the late-nighters get beyond tipsy, I promise they’ll admire you for having an appointment to work out first thing the next morning.

- Relationships keep you up. Babies, pets, and significant others can be a lot to manage when it comes to going to bed at a reasonable hour. You might also find yourself not getting good sleep – or enough of it – because you’re woken up in the middle of the night. This can be a tricky one to navigate. Your best bet, if there’s no way to train the said relationship to sleep through the night or go to sleep when you do, is to rely on sheer willpower. Again, working out first thing in the morning is one of the best ways to guarantee great sleep through the night. And chances are likely that the extra hour or two isn’t going to kill you if your body’s already low on sleep. What you gain in terms of investing into your general health is far greater than what you lose on the sleep front. In addition, consider if there’s any way you can negotiate with your relationships to set you up for success during the early morning. What’s good for you is good for everyone, so if you can, have the conversations to make it happen.

- Fear of being groggy or falling asleep during the day. This can be particularly difficult to overcome, especially when you have a high-stress lifestyle, or your body routinely feels sluggish. One cause for sluggishness could be under-oxygenation of the blood. Working out is one of the best long-term antidotes for that condition. If you feel sluggish during the day, try this exercise: rub your hands together until they’re warm and then place your palms over your eyes. Relax the eyes in this dark by rolling them downward as if you were looking at the floor right ahead of you. Straighten your spine as if there were a string pulling your head up to the ceiling. Reduce your awareness to the feeling of your breath. To a count of 10, breathe in to your belly as deeply as you can, then fill up your upper lungs. Exhale to a count of 10 by breathing from your upper lungs and then from your belly – fully exhale as far as you can. Use your fingers pressing into your forehead to mark each cycle – and do this counting 10 breaths on all your fingers. This oxygenating meditation takes about 3 minutes and should clear your mind of grogginess – and stress!

Your overall success, health, and well-being hinges on being able to consider your personal pitfalls and find ways to overcome them. This might be simple, or it may mean a major change of lifestyle – but when you consistently make it to morning workouts, you’ll find your whole life is better as a result.

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